Incredible footage shows whale tagging along with paddle boarder

This is the touching moment a whale tags along with a paddle boarder.

The giant blue whale surfaced merely metres in front of Rich German, who was filming on his GoPro.

Incredibly, Rich continued on his daily paddle off the coast of Laguna Beach, California, but the blue whale accompanied him.

Rich German filmed the moment the whale beached on a GoPro

Rich German filmed the moment the whale beached on a GoPro

Rich, who has been paddle boarding for four years, said: “I felt exhilarated. I was a little scared at first but realised these animals are completely harmless.

“Blue whales eat krill and have no interest in eating me.

“I waited to see if he would approach me, which he did. Blue whales have the ability to swim very fast – up to 30 MPH – so clearly this whale was comfortable with me being in its presence.”

Rich was paddled boarding off the coast of Laguna Beach, California when the whale accompanied him

Rich was paddled boarding off the coast of Laguna Beach, California when the whale accompanied him

Rich was paddling approximately two miles off the coast when the encounter happened.

But after he posted the video online, some people claimed he had violated marine laws about engaging wildlife.

However, Rich – who met with a Federal Special Agent from the Marine National Fisheries – was told he did not contravene any laws.

Rich, who has been paddle boarding for four years, said: "I felt exhilarated. I was a little scared at first but realised these animals are completely harmless."

Rich, who has been paddle boarding for four years, said: “I felt exhilarated. I was a little scared at first but realised these animals are completely harmless.”

Rich added: “When people first hear about my close encounter some questioned incorrectly questioned the legality of it.

“I personally met with a Federal Special Agent from the Marine National Fisheries who confirmed that there was no violation.

“Obviously they want to make sure no one is harassing marine life which clearly I was not doing.

“Sadly humans have all but decimated the blue whale population on our planet.

“There used to be over 300,000 blue whales and no tragically only about 8,000 remain.

“To me these whales are our most sacred animals.”